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Summer Cucumber Kimchi


One day I was flipping though a Korean temple cookbook and came across a cucumber Kimchi made without any red pepper powder or fish sauce. Whole cucumbers stuffed with white radish and chives looked so refreshing and earthy. Hmmmm…how interesting? Over time, I became a big fan of this crunchy and refreshing Kimchi and have been making it every summer, stuffing it with different vegetables. Since I live in Northern California, the possibilities are endless on what to stuff in these cucumbers.

For this kimchi recipe I used an Asian pear, watermelon radish, and Korean chives. If you can’t find Korean chives, you can substitute green onions or kale. I did workshops this past summer at the Farm to Fermentation Festival and San Francisco Library. Many people asked me for the recipe so here it is…


(For cucumbers)

10 Pickling cucumbers
3 cups water
1/3 cup sea salt

(For stuffing)

2/3 cup Yellow onion, julienned
1 cup Watermelon radish, julienned
1 cup Korean chive, cut in about 1.5 inch length
1 cup Asian pear, peeled and julienned
2 tsp Ginger, minced
1 Tbsp Garlic, minced
1 tsp Kosher salt
2 tsp Sugar

(For finishing up)

2 1/2 cup water
1 tsp Kosher salt


1. Trim both ends of cucumbers and halve crosswise.

2. Make diagonal slices of about one-half inch width but don’t cut all the way through.

3. Leave about 1/4 inch uncut. Put the cucumber in a bowl.

4. Boil 3 cups of water and 1/3 cup sea salt and pour boiling water right over the cucumber.

5. Leave it for 30-40 minutes until outer layer of cucumbers are soft but still firm and hard inside.

6. Rinse cucumbers in cold running water several times and drain

7. In another bowl, put all the stuffing ingredients (Yellow onion, radish, chive, pear, ginger, garlic, salt, sugar)and mix well.

8. Spread open diagonal slices of cucumber and fill with mix of stuffing ingredients.

9. Arrange cucumber with stuffing in an airtight container. Spread any leftover stuffing mixture on top of cucumbers.

10. In a bowl that was used to mix stuffing, pour 2 1/2 cups of water and 1 tsp Kosher salt. Mix well and pour over the cucumbers.

11. Cover tightly, leave at room temperature for about 4-5 hours, and then store in refrigerator.

12. The next day,taste the cucumbers and liquid and adjust seasoning by adding more sugar or salt.

13. The cucumbers and liquid will naturally sour more and the Kimchi is ready to eat on the second or third day.

Fatima Azzahra 10:00 AM